We’ve been visiting Salzburg for about eight years now and on our recent trip we noticed how its changing. It was in between seasons, there were relatively few tourists and a lot of cafes were getting their act together for the Easter rush. Maybe its a more relaxed time of year before the summer rush. There’s a lot of building work going on, many cranes, especially towards the railway station.
Firstly, things were good, the guy at the Park and Ride was so friendly compared to our last visit, and I said so. Then on the way back in the bus, the driver pulled my leg with a wicked grin saying our tickets were wrong.
BUT in the Old town, there are even more beggars, mostly women and not as crippled as last year. So why does the city tolerate these gangs? There are whining articles in the paper and news, but no-one does ANYTHING. Then there are a lot of people selling the equivalent of the Big Issue, which here is APROPOS. I bought one and gave the guy a little extra, and felt smug. Later sitting in the Mirabelle gardens, another came by and just wouldn’t accept I had bought one and wasn’t going to buy another. He then said give us just 50 cents, so I refused and he stood there nagging until I got cross. He had no ID, and was wearing good quality clothes. Doesn’t the publisher check tactics? They should send a secret shopper to follow them about. This is outright begging and they are abusing the system. When we had such problems in Tamsweg, they didn’t last long.
There were plenty of Austrian people with problems, sitting on the benches, bag ladies and guys taking to themselves. I guess they’ll be booted out at Easter, but the APROPOS sellers have a sort of legitimacy and wont be.
All this is beginning to take the beauty and uniqueness of Salzburg away. What finished it for me was this bridge, pictured above. An idea copied from another country, with even a shop selling the padlocks nearby. I just hope that Vienna when we visit it later this year has got its act together!